Compete in London’s very first Urban Photo Race for the chance to win prizes and have your work exhibited
Image by Patrick Dreuning who won UPR Rotterdam 2017.
The Urban Photo Race [UPR] is coming to London on September 22nd 2018. The 12-hour street photography challenge has proved a hit in the Netherlands and Germany, with past events running in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Berlin. However, next week will be UPR’s first trip to the Big Smoke, and things are going to get creative… and probably a tad competitive too! You can purchase tickets here.
The race starts at 10am, and participants will have one hour to visit the first three checkpoints, get their Participant ID stamped and receive a total of six themes. Each photographer is then challenged to photograph three photos per theme – that’s 18 stunning photographs in just 12 hours. Anybody over 18 is eligible to enter and photographers of all levels are encouraged to enter. Don’t own a dedicated camera? No worries, you can use the camera on your smartphone. Participants edit and submit their photos at the fourth and final checkpoint, which is open between 7pm and 10pm.
- Four-day street photography course at the London School of Photography
- Photo prints
- The Photographers’ Gallery – Exhibition book by Tish Murtha: Works 1976-1991
- Photo prints
- Photo prints
Locations and times
We would advise that you read the official UPR rules, and terms and conditions thoroughly, so you know exactly what you're required to do and bring to get the most out of your UPR experience. Click on the links above.
Our top five tips for street photography
You don't have to be a pro photographer to enter the Urban Photo Race. In fact, anyone with a camera (or smartphone camera) can compete. So, if you're knew to street photography or would like a leg up before the big day, we've compiled a list of our top five street photography tips.
1. Be patient or come back later
Good things come to street photographers who wait. Browse through your favourite street snapper’s Instagram and you’ll find a patchwork of unusual moments and perfectly lit shots. You’d be forgiven for thinking them lucky, but the reality is that they’re patient. Some photographers wait in the same spot for hours, and others return to the same location time and again before they can capture the image in their mind’s eye. Sure, the whole point of the Urban Photo Race is to produce 18 photos over 12 hours (no mean feat). But, even a five or 10-minute wait could be enough to reward you with a superb shot.
2. What lenses should I use?
Street photography is one of the most creative forms of photography, and there’s no hard and fast rule as to the lenses you should use. That said, it’s worth bearing in mind that street photography is often about adapting to situations very quickly. Because of this, many street photographers enjoy the versatility of a standard zoom like a 24-70mm (or equivalent, if you're using a smaller sensor).
Another popular street lens is the 50mm or ‘nifty fifty’. This versatile little prime can be used for both portraits or wider compositions, and has the added benefit of being light and compact. You may find that a prime encourages you to find new and interesting compositions, because you’ll physically have to move around more to adjust your framing. It’s also common for street photographers to use wider lenses or even fisheyes to cram more elements into the frame, or create an altogether more imposing or dramatic look.
3. Photograph with a friend
Street photography can be intimidating, especially if you’re photographing human subjects. You should never hassle a subject or invade their personal space, but so long as you’re polite and aware of your surroundings, you should be able to photograph with confidence. We would always recommend photographing the streets with a friend. Not only will you find the experience less intimidating (and hopefully more enjoyable), you’ll have somebody to watch your back when your eye’s against the viewfinder and your mind’s on framing the perfect shot. During the Urban Photo Race, you’ll be competing alongside many other photographers and will also be given an ID badge that you can show to any curious members of the public.
4. Learn from your peers
Street photography is all about finding interesting compositions among the monotony of everyday life. The best street photographers possess the ability to take stunning photographs in environments that might otherwise seem uninspiring or bland. The rise of Instagram street snappers like @rontimehin and @uk.shooters has brought with it a buzzing online community, which shares images, and discusses the latest street photography hotspots and trends. Engaging with your peers can help your development as a photographer, and looking through your heroes’ portfolios will help to refine your eye for a good shot.
Looking to improve your Instagram profile? Check out our blog Gain Followers and Build a More Successful Instagram Page | Five Top Tips.
5. Complement or contrast
Elements that complement each other can tie an image together, while contrasting elements can really make a street photo pop. Pay attention to signs and colours, and always be on the lookout for unusual instances. A few examples might include a dog sat by a ‘No dogs allowed’ sign, a red umbrella among a sea of black umbrellas or something really wacky, like a commuter on a unicycle.
About the Author
Mike Harris is Wex Photo Video’s production editor and is an experienced journalist with a passion for motorsport photography. You can view his portfolio via @MDHarrisPhoto on Instagram.